Middle River Couple Indicted for Sexually Exploiting Minors to Produce Child Pornography

May 19, 2010

Baltimore, Maryland - A federal grand jury indicted John Fred Nicklas IV, age 35, and Shannon Leigh Honea, age 27, both of Middle River, Maryland, late yesterday on charges of conspiring to and sexually exploiting minors to produce child pornography, and possession of child pornography.

The indictment was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland3 Rod J. Rosenstein, Special Agent in Charge Richard A. McFeely of the Federal Bureau of Investigation; Chief James W. Johnson of the Baltimore County Police Department; and Baltimore County State’s Attorney Scott Shellenberger.

According to the 11 count indictment, from February 15, 2009 through August 5, 2009, Nicklas and Honea had minor females at their residence. The indictment alleges that the defendants had the minor females change their clothes in rooms arranged to record that activity in order to produce child pornography. The defendants also arranged for minor females to spend the evening at the house and traveled to other states to obtain minor females, allegedly in order to produce child pornography. The indictment further alleges that the defendants planned to have children so that they could sexually molest those children.

Specifically, the indictment alleges that the defendants created videos of themselves sexually molesting three minor females, including a baby, as well as, arranged to record three minor females as they changed clothes and one minor female while she showered. According to the indictment, John Fred Nicklas IV also sent a letter to Shannon Leigh Honea explaining how he wanted to have daughters with her and the sexually explicit activities that he would engage in with the children, starting when they were a year old.

The defendants face a mandatory minimum sentence of 15 years and a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison for the conspiracy and for sexually exploiting a minor to produce child pornography; and a maximum of 10 years in prison for possession of child pornography, followed by supervised release up to life. Nicklas and Honea are detained on related state charges. No court appearance has been scheduled yet.

An indictment is not a finding of guilt. An individual charged by indictment is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty at some later criminal proceedings.

This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice. Led by United States Attorneys’ Offices and the Criminal Division's Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section (CEOS), Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state and local resources to better locate, apprehend and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the internet, as well as to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit Details about Maryland’s program are available at

United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein thanked Assistant U.S. Attorney Bonnie S. Greenberg, who is prosecuting the case.


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